The World Happiness Report has just come out and Finland has, for the fourth year running, taken the number one spot as the happiest country on Earth.
How has COVID affected the ranking compared to previous years?
Rounding out the top five are Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland and The Netherlands. For 2020, the UK has dropped from the thirteenth to the eighteenth spot.
As we all know by having lived what has seemed like the hardest year in recent memory, 2020 was met with many challenges and the World Happiness Report has had to adjust its way of tallying up happiness by country. They explained that:
This whole report focuses on the effects of Covid-19 and how people all over the world have fared. Our aim was two-fold, first to focus on the effects of Covid-19 on the structure and quality of people's lives, and second to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic.
And added that:
In particular, we try to explain why some countries have done so much better than others.
The top 10 almost entirely European
Besides New Zealand at number 9, every other country in the top 10 is European which hasn't differed much from previous years, despite the emergence of the coronavirus in 2020. In fact, John Helliwell, who worked on the study, said:
Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people's own evaluation of their lives. One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling.
Here are the top 20 countries according to the World Happiness Report:
- New Zealand
- United States
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom